Filming in the dark

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    • #37416

      I’m working on a video and a scene call for a total power outage, so the scene needs to be dark, but I’d still like to be able to see the actors faces, much like are ‘real’ shows and movies have. Does anyone know the best way to do this?

    • #165878

      Lightweight, portable, battery operated LED units, probably to be found in such places as RadioShack, ought to do the trick. Some of these units can be clipped to the collar, or on the bill or brim of a hat/cap, attached to a fishpole just out of lens, etc. and focused on one side or profile of the face or the other.

      I would be careful about placement below the chin area, unless you actually want one of those Freddie Kreuger fright light looks for a horror flick – remember holding a flashlight under your chin and shining it upwards? Boo!

    • #165879

      search “day for night” techniques in these forums.

      Here’s a trick we still photographers use, that I’ve discovered works quite well with video:

      sometimes when I have my camera mounted on a sturdy tripod, I shoot a scene with no talent, just to get my base exposure, then add my lights, then my talent. In post, I have the option of laying the final image over top of my static scene shot, and simply cutting out the lights/stands from the top layer to let the bottom layer show through.

      reason? to be able to use lower powered lights closer to the talent for close ups, but then being able to shoot wide, without having to worry about changing the lighting.

      so for video as you asked about…

      I’d set a custom white balance to create a “Blue” tint to the scene. I’d under expose and pump up the contrast. Film a static scene first, then add my lights (cto gels to color balance) and talent. Then layer the two clips in post and remove the lights/lightstands.

      I’d use my super cheap 12volt rechargable flashlights, mounted to lightstands with umbrellas, to light my subjects.

    • #165880


      you could read the ‘film noir’ lighting techniques in last months Videomaker magazine.

    • #165881

      here’s a sample from a shoot I’m working on. this is one from a seires. after selectin a final image, I will overlay it with a shot of the bridge, and simply remove any layers from this image to let the other layer show through. Can post a finished sample by wednesday if you like. this technique does work on video….

    • #165882

      Looks nice, but I believe the orignal poster wants it even darker, no detail except for faces. Crushed or solid blacks most everywhere else. More of a concentrated lighting effect rather than an overall illumination as your image depicts.

    • #165883

      well to avoid noise in the overall image (or video clip) it pays to “shoot to the right” of the camera’s histogram, then darken the image in post. If you start off too dark in camera, you can’t really get any detial in the shadows, and will be introducing noise to the blacks.

      the whole frame needs to be within the camera sensors exposure range (ie 3 stops from highlight to shadow) to get maximum detial with minimal noise.

      This was one image, from a series, I shot yesterday afternoon for a project. In Aperture you set your Raw file conversion settings, and adjustments to one image then stamp those settings to all images from the set. Does illustrate how the technique works as a process. Using low power lighting with camera technique to set the mood for a night scene during the day. It wouldn’t be practical to shoot and edit a whole scen on video or still to show a point…. not for free anyways.

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